A music streamer lets you share your music, photos and videos with your network. If you have a Network-attached storage (NAS) device, it is likely that you already have the technology built-in to share your media. Using a NAS is a neat solution as it can be left on all the time, consuming very little power. However, this is only one method of sharing your multimedia around a home network.
A PC can offer a more elegant home media solution that allows you to easily share audio, video and pictures to other devices on your network. Using the right software, interoperability is achieved with other devices by conforming with the DLNA specification and by converting media on-the-fly to formats that client devices support.
Many devices conform to the guidelines laid down by the DNLA. DNLA is built into lots of devices, from TVs to gaming devices.
DLNA devices use Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), a collection of networking protocols that allows networked devices to discover each other’s presence and share data, communications and entertainment without the need for manual setup. UPnP can be considered an extension of plug-and-play. The software featured in this article lets you stream digital media around your home network and enjoy the multimedia on a variety of UPnP compatible devices.
Our Group Tests generally only feature open source software, although we occasionally make an exception if proprietary free-to-download software really stands out from the crowd. Plex Media Server is one such example of proprietary software. It is a fantastic no-charge UPnP server, and hence worth a mention.
To provide an insight into the quality of UPnP server software that is available, we have compiled the following list of software. Hopefully there will be something of interest for anyone who wants to share their music, photos and videos with their entire network.
Here’s our recommendations.
Let’s explore the software at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.
|Universal Media Server||High quality DLNA, UPnP and HTTP/S Media Server|
|Kodi||Media Center with built-in UPnP A/V features|
|dms||UPnP DLNA Digital Media Server|
|Gerbera||UPnP media server|
|Rygel||Home media solution (UPnP AV MediaServer)|
|ReadyMedia||Simple yet compliant with DLNA/UPnP-AV clients|
|LXiMedia||DLNA compatible, fully transcoding, media server|
|Return to our complete collection of recommended free and open source software including our latest additions.|